Along with his appreciation of science, Brown has a sincere interest in the artisan side of the cooking process. He recently made a trip to Nashville to visit Scott Witherow of Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. to discover how Witherow made the journey from culinary school to chocolate-making in his home kitchen to the larger-scale-but-still-artisanal bean-to-bar process that he practices in his new facility on Fatherland Street in East Nashville.
Brown recorded the visit for a fascinating podcast that he posted on Nerdist.com. Witherow and Brown discussed the origin story of O&S and why the Nashville chef chose to use vintage equipment and methods to produce his delicious products. You can even hear the squeak of the old stone mill wheel grinding up the nibs in the background of the interview. (Headphones not recommended and you might want to remove dogs with sensitive ears from the room.)
Brown clearly knows his stuff and asked Witherow some good probing questions about the specific choices he made through the years with regard to his bean sources and methods. When I spoke to Brown last fall prior to his most recent road show visit, he was clearly impressed with Witherow's dedication to his craft, and the two riffed nicely off of each other during the interview. Scott even sent him to Grimey's to hunt down some old vinyl. He also gives hints about some new products coming down the Willy Wonka pipeline, including a salt and vinegar caramel and duck fat caramels. I'm awaiting those with bated breath!
Another local podcast that kicked off recently also has a culinary component. Nashville Unleashed is a Web series produced by two singer-songwriters named (I'm not kidding) Jack and Diane. They cover local issues revolving around music, pop culture, a little bit of pastoral inspiration and wine and cuisine. The culinary portion is produced by local food and wine blogger Lisa Mays, who publishes at her own blog, Wine with Lisa. She presents new recipes in each episode and offer wine pairings for each dish.
Mays also covers restaurant news and invites guests into the kitchen to cook with her. You might even see a few familiar faces from the Bites blog showing off their culinary chops in upcoming episodes. The first few episodes have ranged from about a half-hour to 45 minutes, so skip that sitcom that you can't figure out why you're still watching it and give Nashville Unleashed a try.